New Mexico United’s first foray into the U.S. Open Cup met its end tonight in Minnesota.
After an incredible run, garnering national attention, United ran into one of the hottest clubs in MLS right now. Minnesota United FC proved to be too much for the USL club, defeating them 6-1 and extending their winning streak to six matches.
Without Kevaughn Frater, who was serving a suspension, the question was whether or not the United attack would be able to put any pressure on the Minnesota defense. For the opening minutes of the match, it looked like New Mexico had the answer. United was firing off the ball and won two early corners. Off of the second corner, Chris Wehan would set up Santi Moar with a perfectly placed pass to the top of the box. Moar would put a shot out of the reach of Minnesota keeper Vito Mannone, giving the visitors the lead in only the 7th minute.
The Loons, sporting a lineup very similar to one they would use in league play, didn’t take long to respond. In the 10th, Hassani Dotson would sent a cross into the box that was headed home by Angelo Rodriguez to pull the hosts level. Rodriguez nearly found a second in the 16th, but the shot was saved by a diving Cody Mizell. With Mizell unable to wrangle the ball, Darwin Quintero took advantage of it and put it in from close range to put Minnesota up 2-1.
A poor pass out of the back by Justin Schmidt in the 18th would go straight to Jan Gregus of the Loons. A quick pass back inside the box to Rodriguez allowed him the opportunity to put a shot in towards the lower right corner. An outstretched Mizell just couldn’t make up the distance, and the hosts’ lead was doubled. Gregus would add a goal of his own from a free kick, after a foul was awarded at the top of the box. With a low, curling shot, Gregus found the back of the net again, giving Minnesota four within 13 minutes and increasing the lead to 4-1.
Quintero would look to add another to his tally in the 45th, but the outstretched leg of Sam Hamilton was able to deflect the shot. Unfortunately for United, the ball went right to Rodriguez again, who would finish it off to complete a first-half hat trick.
Josh Suggs would sub on after halftime in an effort to help stabilize the defense and work on his match fitness. His performance was one of the bright spots of the night for United. Coming off of an injury, he looked fit and close to, if not already at, 100%.
Kevin Molino looked to increase the lead again in the 62’ as the Loons went on a counter. His shot from left of the spot would be saved by Mizell, but once again the ball would only be deflected right back to a Minnesota player. This time it was Miguel Ibarra who was left with a tap in to cap off the scoring.
Player of the Match
Angelo Rodriguez – Rodriguez was the best player on the pitch for much of the match. He caused mismatches and took advantage of United mistakes en route to giving his club a hat trick in the first half.
United look to get back into the swing of league play as they head to Fresno to take on Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park. The Foxes have been on the uptick of late in their form, winning their last three matches. The match will take place on Saturday, July 13 at 8:30 pm (mountain).
Photo courtesy Minnesota United FC